Progressive morality fits a nurturant family: parents are equal, the values are empathy, responsibility for oneself and others, and cooperation. That is taught to children. Parents protect and empower their children, and listen to them. Authority comes through an ethic of excellence and living by what you say, rather than by enforcing rules.He's been beating this drum for probably longer than I've been posting. It's intriguing how much flak the essay has been taking, from the self-styled progressives on one of their main bulletin boards. (Scroll through the comments and instruct yourself.)
The false choice comes in equating progressive morality and social cooperation.
Correspondingly in politics, democracy begins with citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly both for oneself and others. The mechanism by which this is achieved is The Public, through which the government provides resources that make private life and private enterprise possible: roads, bridges and sewers, public education, a justice system, clean water and air, pure food, systems for information, energy and transportation, and protection both for and from the corporate world. No one makes it on his or her own. Private life and private enterprise are not possible without The Public. Freedom does not exist without The Public.Division of labor is also an emergent phenomenon. Sometimes The Public set up institutions that assist The Invisible Hand. Sometimes those institutions arm-wrestle The Invisible Hand. Keep that in mind, now work through the passage that follows.
In conservative politics, democracy is seen as providing the maximal liberty to seek one’s self-interest without being responsible for the interests of others. The best people are those who are disciplined enough to be successful. Lack of success implies lack of discipline and character, which means you deserve your poverty. From this perspective, The Public is immoral, taking away incentives for greater discipline and personal success, and even standing in the way of maximizing private success. The truth that The Private depends upon The Public is hidden from this perspective. The Public is to be minimized or eliminated. To conservatives, it’s a moral issue.No, the self-discipline to be successful is the self-discipline to prosper by respecting the wishes of others. The Public stands in the way of maximizing private success by agreeing to rules of ownership, contract, and fraud only for grifters and fraudsters. The moral issue may be the attempt to sharply define boundaries between The Private and The Public, something that observers from diverse political perspectives might agree is not possible.